Category: Material and Tool Information
Artist Kim Kahrilas’ bunny mosaic mural uses pet portraits and children’s book illustrations for inspiration and demonstrates how you can create a larger project by making it in modules.
Kim made the mosaic on sections of tile backer board, with each section or panel having it own composition: four separate stand-alone scenes featuring bunnies plus some more narrow divider panels and the grass underneath the other panels.
Kim says that it took 2 years to complete the project and that looking back over the photos made her realize that she had completed a lot of other projects during that period.
Artists Patricia Cream and Leah Mitchell recently completed an outdoor mosaic mural mounted on foam-core tile backer board, and they took excellent photos of the work in progress.
Each major step in the process is shown, including the french-cleat hanging brackets used to mount the mosaic to the cinder-block wall.
The mosaic mural is also impressive. Patricia and Leah really capture the energy of a mixed wildflower garden with all the different textures and shapes and colors.
A stainless-steel ruler and a spray-bottle filled with water are all you need to avoid the most common injury and the most serious risk associated with creating mosaic artwork.
We haven’t been able to keep our Smalti stocked very well over the past year because it has quadrupled in cost after the tariffs and freight gouging and the large factory price increase.
I have been fretting about that a lot recently, and so Natalija reminded my how much cheaper and easier it is to use American-made Stained Glass instead of smalti.
Natalija’s video below shows how quickly you can “strip & clip” a small sheet of stained glass into mosaic tiles.Stripping Stained Glass
The “stripping” is done using the Economy Pistol-Grip Cutter. Note that a straight-edge ruler could have been used with the cutter to product strips of equal width.
Glass Seed Beads in the 3.7mm size can be strung on short pieces of wire to make letters, numerals, and symbols in mosaic artwork.Step #1. Find Wire
Any variety of metal wire can be used, but copper taken from stranded electrical wire is the easiest to find and use:
Natalija made a video of her work with artist Angela Bortone in the restoration of a marble mosaic. The mosaic was a reproduction of a detail of Botticelli’s painting The Birth of Venus, and it was covered in grime and missing tiles. It also needed to be transferred to a new backer. There was a lot to do.
The Blue Crab mosaic I recently completed is a good example of how to create a grout gap by making use of imperfect cuts instead of spacing the tiles intentionally.
The “imperfect cut” method makes the process of creating a mosaic faster, easier, and less tedious -first in the cutting and placing of tiles but also in the grouting process.
That “error” will create the grout gap for you.
Artist Sandra Christie of Married Metals emailed me some questions about an outdoor mosaic she wanted to make for her garden area in Connecticut.
The mosaic will be on a 50-square-foot slab of concrete that will be poured to make a short walkway into a fenced garden area.
Sandra’s initial questions didn’t emphasize drainage in particular other than to say it would be exposed to a fair amount of water, but I am so glad my initial response was mostly about drainage.Artist Sandra Christie’s Garden Area with Deer Fence.
I’m also Sandra didn’t understand what I meant at first because it caused an important exchange. There turned out to be some significant details to work out that I didn’t consider until Sandra emailed me back with some pictures.
My 13-year-old son made some mosaics on our 4-inch bamboo coasters with me. His designs are also figurative and iconic, but unlike the mosaics I have been making, his designs use whole uncut tiles.
My son’s designs are all Minecraft-inspired images, and so the blocky nature of uncut square 8-mm tiles was perfect:Minecraft-Inspired Mosaics by my Son
He challenged me to design some of my own mosaics using whole uncut tiles, and so I did.
Recent blog articles have required that I use Adobe’s Photoshop software to correct the foreshortening and skewed angles in the original photographs sent in by the artists.
You can avoid foreshortening and skewed angles when photographing your artwork using the tips I have at the end of my post about frames for mosaic art.
However, you might not be able to avoid photographing your artwork at an odd angle if your artwork is immovable or if you want to capture an iridescent shimmer, which depends on the angle of the viewpoint.
That latter issue was the problem when artist Terry Broderick made photographs of his recent Grand Lake Cabin mosaic.
I was planning to write a post about using Photoshop to correct foreshortening, but Natalija beat me to it when she documented what she did to correct Terry’s photo.
Angela Bortone and Natalija Moss recently restored a marble mosaic interpretation of a detail from Botticelli’s Venus, the well-known Renaissance painting.
They used the Hercules Precision Stone Chopping Machine to cut the Mable Mosaic Cutting Strips they used for the work.
Note that many colors of our Mable Mosaic Cutting Strips are currently out of stock but will be restocked in 45 days.
Natalija has filmed a video of her laying out a rose mosaic inset for her new home, and it’s a good demonstration of cutting and fitting tile and other basic techniques. More importantly, it shows the process of design evolution by trial and error, something that is lacking in most craft videos.